Super Bowl 51 fires passion, even in Alaska.

Super Bowl 51 fires passion, even in Alaska.
February 6, 2017 Aaron Walling


Patriots cheer win in Super Bowl LI

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and his team celebrate their win over Atlanta Falcons in overtime during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. The Patriots won 34-28. PHOTO: Bob Donnan / USA TODAY Sport

Super Bowl 51 was won by the Patriots, after they pulled off the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. However, it was game that many fans of football in Alaska watched in their Super Bowl parties, either at friends’ homes, bars and many other places.

So how did fans in Alaska feel about the game?

“Wow. Not what I was expecting after that first half, but the Patriots brought it hard in the 4th and OT!” Ali Chambers posted on Facebook about the Super Bowl matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.

The Patriots turned around a halftime deficit into one of the greatest performances in Super Bowl history. In a state like Alaska, the closest team to fans of football here is the Seattle Seahawks, so there is a lot of different fandoms in the state. You go to a Super Bowl party and you see a plethora of different jerseys. From Minnesota Vikings to the Cleveland Browns, (Yes, even the Factory of Sadness, which is the Browns, have fans) it is clearly a diverse group.

An interesting part to the narrative in Alaska is the fact that when the game ends it is still around 6:30 p.m., so where do you go after that? Many fans in Alaska turned to social media to display their glee or dismay over the Patriots’ win.

Alaska Dispatch News posted a story about the ending to the game on Facebook, along with USA Today photographer Bob Donnan’s photo of the proud Pats, arms raised high, glorying in their victory. The triumphant image drew comments from all sides. Some mentioned how they  hate the Patriots, Others referred to the choke job by the Falcons, who were not only shut out through the entire second half, they entered the fourth quarter holding a 19-point advantage, yet lost the first-ever Super Bowl Overtime game by more than 20.

One ADN reader took a jab at Hillary Clinton. “Haven’t seen a lead like that blown since Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” commented Rex Talcott.

What can be said is that even though Alaska doesn’t have a professional football team based here, football passions remain part of life. Fans abound, from the villages to larger towns and cities. The slogan from National Football League Network applies: Football is Family, even in the Far North.


Aaron Walling
Aaron Walling is a senior at the University of Alaska Fairbanks studying Journalism. He is also a freelance writer for the Sun Star, where he covers everything to do with Nanook sports at UAF. He also works as an undergraduate research assistant, assisting Communication's Public Speaking program. Aaron was born and raised in a military family.


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